As people of Christian faith, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been in partnership with churches in both Ukraine and Russia over the last 30 years and with churches in the former Soviet Union for many years before that. The resulting dialogue and the mutual engagement have enriched congregations and members across our denomination through conversations over sharing tea and walking together in ministry. For many, the discovery of family in a place that enemies were expected has been profound. The witness of faith that withstood the persecutions of the Soviet Union has been powerful.

As tensions developed following the Revolution of Dignity on the Maidan in Kyiv, the annexation of Crimea and the Russian support of the separatist movement in the Donbas region, we have continued to be engaged with our partners through peacemaking seminars and ongoing informal conversations, trying to listen deeply and understand perspectives. It’s complicated and painful, as families and friends across the border have been divided, unable to find the language of reconciliation. We grieve over the loss of life in the Donbas and are in complete sympathy with our siblings in Ukraine, but we reject the escalating rhetoric that brings the world close to war. We reject the focus on militaristic solutions and call on President Biden and our Congress to pursue, with humility, diplomatic solutions through sustained dialogue in order to de-escalate the situation.

A Call to Prayer:

As tensions continue to rise, as soldiers on both sides of the conflict prepare, as mothers and fathers pray, let us pray for peace. Let us pray for the governments of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the United States and the European Union to seek all avenues for a peaceful resolution to the current tensions. And may we soften our own hearts and words in our own communities to de-escalate the tensions that consume our world. Lord, be with us, we pray. Teach us to be your peacemakers. Amen.